Seven children died in a fire caused by a hot plate in a two-story house in Brooklyn, NY. The tragic event took place early Saturday, March 21.
The victims were four boys and three girls, with ages ranging from 5 to 15. All of them were upstairs when a “hot plate” device used to keep food warm caught fire, due to an apparent malfunction, shortly after midnight. When asked why they were keeping food warm at night, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro mentioned it was Sabbath and it was easier for them to keep food warm this way as they didn’t need to use a stove.
There were two survivors; the 45-year-old mother and one of her daughters, aged 14 managed to jump out the window. They were both hospitalized but are in critical condition due to the severe burns and the smoke they inhaled.
Reporters asked why the two were able to escape. Nigro explained that the mother and her daughter were the oldest in the house, so probably were the only ones able to react. Also, the two were closer to the front of the house when the fire started in the rear.
Firefighters arrived soon after the accident was reported at about 12:23 a.m. By then, the mother and daughter had already jumped out the window. After having extinguished the fire, they went to examine the house. One of the girls, aged 8, was declared dead at the scene. Her other rescued siblings, (two girls aged 12 and 15 and four boys aged 5, 6, 7, and 11) died soon after being taken to hospitals.
According to firefighters, there was no evidence of smoke detectors in the first and second floors. The basement seemed to have one but no information was released in regard to its functionality.
The father was apparently out of town on a conference and police are having trouble contacting him.
Nigro described the event as “the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years”. He called it a tragedy for the city of New York. He added:
“To find a house full of children that can’t be revived, I’m sure this will take its toll on our members for quite some time.”
Police did not release the names of the victims immediately.
Image Source: Today